Sunday, Oct 20th

Last updateThu, 17 Oct 2019 7am

You are here: Home Content On Our Radar Madmen on the Couch
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop
Vintage and Rare Cars Wow Visitors to the 17th Annual Scarsdale Concours

Vintage and Rare Cars Wow Visitors to the 17th Annual Scarsdale Concours

Jay and Barney Read in their 1994MG RV8 Organizers estimate that as many as 1,000...

Sports News: Raiders Win Section 1 Championships

Sports News: Raiders Win Section 1 Championships

The Raiders Girls Varsity Tennis Team won the Section I Championship on Sunday O...

Raiders Down Tigers In Field Hockey Rematch Thriller

Raiders Down Tigers In Field Hockey Rematch Thriller

On a cloudy morning on Saturday October 12, the Scarsdale Raiders Field Hockey l...

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

Madmen on the Couch

drapersFor those of you who are eagerly waiting for the next season of Madmen, here’s something to tide you over and give you some insight at the same time. Clinical psychologist and Edgemont resident Dr. Stephanie Newman has just published a new book, Madmen on the Couch, in which she analyzes the minds of the men and women in the hit TV show. If you’ve ever wondered why Don Draper constantly sabotages himself or why Betty Draper is such an unhappy mother Newman offers a psychologist’s perspective on these complex and highly entertaining characters.

To learn more about Dr. Newman and the book, we posed some questions and here is what we learned:

What inspired you to write a book about the characters in Mad Men?

I decided to write the Mad Men book while I was teaching candidates at the psychoanalytic institute. I was in class explaining the various ways in which different disorders manifest, and was struggling with how to effectively clarify my explanations and improve my clinical vignettes, when I spotted an article in the Wall Street Journal that described how—in a growing trend--clinical instructors were using fictional characters to illustrate myriad aspects of psychopathology. At this same time I was also intrigued by the very psychologically opaque characters in the AMC show Mad Men; by how well drawn their personalities were and how their complex actions could be elaborated. And then it all clicked: I thought it would be interesting and challenging to write about the show in such a way as to examine Don Draper and company through a psychological lens.

How did you get it published?

I pitched the book to an agent and wrote it fast, so as to coincide with the premier of the upcoming season. The entire writing, editing, and publishing process took about a year—including watching each episode numerous times (which did not feel like work at all!). This is a short time in the world of publishing, but as I said, I had to plough through really fast in order to publish in time for Season 5. I was lucky to work with a fabulous editor at St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne, Margaret Smith, who was willing to burn the candle at both ends and shepherd the book through in rapid-fire fashion.

Did you enjoy writing it and what did you learn through the process?

I absolutely loved the writing and editing process. I enjoyed receiving input about my writing and about what those who buy books might want to read. I have always enjoyed writing, but had never before had the experience of collaborating with a professional editor. Moving a paragraph here and there and shifting the emphasis, even slightly, was eye-opening for me. Starting with nothing more than an idea and building an entire book, word for word from blank page (or screen!) to competed volume, was a new experience. The huge amount of time and work it entailed was what surprised me most—I don’t think I slept for an entire year!

Is this your first book?

Before writing Mad Men on the Couch I had co-edited another work, Money Talks, a collection of papers written by therapists and analysts about the incursion of money, fees, and the recent recession into the clinical situation. While I had contributed a paper in that volume, Mad Men on the Couch is the first book I have written.

Writing about Mad Men proved to be an enriching and all-consuming project; I began to think about the charactersmadmencouch in the oddest places and at the strangest times. Many of them started to bleed into my consciousness and to pop up at the most unexpected moments. I could be in a social situation and would find myself wondering what Don Draper would think about something, a joke, maybe. And I would frequently notice how 2012 differs from 1962, with respect to women's rights and the female position in society; same with the different ways in which people of color were treated back then versus now. I was most of all fascinated by the different family sensibility that existed during the Mad Men era. Today we tend to focus intensely on and revolve weekends around children's activities. Don and Betty would not spend even a minute standing on a soccer field—that’s just not how people lived. While child rearing takes up a lot of space in our millennial brains, it did not seem to be a preoccupation fifty years ago.

Do you think we struggle with similar issues to those faced by the characters depicted on the show?

I do think our contemporaries struggle with many of the same dilemmas as those wrestled with by the show’s characters. They all want to spin their personal images, get ahead at work, and maintain interpersonal relationships. And these struggles and frailties are what make the characters on Mad Men are human; they are vulnerable and they trip themselves up in many of the same ways viewers do. People seem to relate to these characters and to wonder what makes them tick. I think that’s what is largely responsible for the show’s appeal and its success.

What other television shows do you watch?

There are other shows that are psychological in nature. I also like to watch Modern Family; these characters also struggle with everyday problems like image, relationships, difficulties at work and at home, and the writers find humorous ways to confront stereotypes, which makes the show interesting to watch.

What similarities and differences do you see between the Westchester that is shown on the show and the Westchester we live in today?

Given that people have always seemed to be preoccupied with relationships and career concerns, it appears that Westchester hasn’t changed that much since the fictional Drapers tooled around Ossining in the shiny red Cadillac, some 50 years ago. If I had to point to one major change it would probably by the central focus today around child-rearing and children’s activities. Back then there was not a Gymboree or toddler music class in every small town. Now families devote afternoons, evenings, and weekends to child-focused extra-curricular activities. Don, Betty, Peggy, Pete, Roger, and Joan would probably not recognize this aspect of life in contemporary Westchester.

Tell us about yourself and your education:

I grew up in the New York area and went to grad school at Columbia University Teachers College, where I received training as a Clinical Psychologist. I then completed a post-doctoral program at IPE, which is NYU Medical Center’s psychoanalytic institute.

StephanieNewmanI currently see patients in private practice and try to write as much as I can. In addition to writing Mad Men on the Couch, I have been regularly contributing articles to the on- line edition of Psychology Today at Apologies to Freud (for an example, click here:)  I am also a mother of two very energetic young children. And unlike the Drapers, I try my best to host play dates and make it to sports matches whenever I can. We have been in Edgemont for almost 5 years, and have loved living in the area. I cannot think of a better place to raise a family. The schools and sports programs are what drew us here in the first place; all have proved to be excellent.

How do you plan to promote the book?

I am very involved with different social media avenues such as Twitter (@MadMenOnCouch) and Facebook. I am scheduled to appear on several radio shows and possibly some TV shows. And the print media has shown interest in covering the book, as well. I will also be writing about it on line in Psychology Today and speaking about it locally and in New York City (one school has invited me to explain to its parent body what makes Betty Draper Frances such a cold mother. That should be fun!).

Madmen on the Couch is published by Thomas Dunne Book of St. Martin’s Griffin and will be available at Barnes and Noble ($14.99) and can also be purchased as an e-book ($12.99). Check it out on Amazon here and learn more about Dr. Newman here.

 

 

Good Work

SETTING

Behind Closed Doors: Raising Awareness About Domestic Violence

Behind Closed Doors: Raising Awareness About Domestic Violence

The reality of domestic violence is that it can sometimes be lethal, even in Scarsdale. Less than four years ago, Dr. Robin Goldman was stabbed fatall...

Read More

Around Town

SETTING

Scarsdale 2, New Rochelle, 3 in Tight Soccer Match on October 11

Scarsdale 2, New Rochelle, 3 in Tight Soccer Match on October 11

Sophomore Cian Battiwalla playing against adversaries from New Rochelle. The Raiders Boys Varsity Soccer team lost 2-3 in a very tight match on Friday ...

Read More

Neighborhood News

SETTING

On Our Minds

SETTING

Girls Soccer Team Celebrates Seniors

Girls Soccer Team Celebrates Seniors

The Scarsdale’s Girls Varsity Soccer team celebrated Senior Day before their game against Mamaroneck on Saturday October 12. About the seniors, junior...

Read More

On Our Radar

SETTING

SYSC U9 Girls Team Wins Columbus Day Tournament

SYSC U9 Girls Team Wins Columbus Day Tournament

The Scarsdale Youth Soccer Club team Pride (U9 girls team) won the Landsdowne Yonkers Field Club Columbus Day tournament on October 13.

(Photo Credit: ...

Read More

Parenting

SETTING

Rice, Soy, Oat, Almond, Coconut, Hemp, Kefir and Good Ol’ Cow’s Milk: Which Milk is Best?

Rice, Soy, Oat, Almond, Coconut, Hemp, Kefir and Good Ol’ Cow’s Milk: Which Milk is Best?

It’s a conundrum – on the one hand children need to drink milk – but on the other, what kind of milk should they be drinking? The questioning begins a...

Read More

Shout it Out

SETTING

Scarsdale's WeRun Team Supports the Annual Westchester Run

Scarsdale's WeRun Team Supports the Annual Westchester Run

The Scarsdale WeRun team participated the Westchester Healing Half and 10K charity runs on Sunday October 6 on the Bronx River Parkway. There were a t...

Read More

School News

SETTING

Sports News: Raiders Win Section 1 Championships

Sports News: Raiders Win Section 1 Championships

The Raiders Girls Varsity Tennis Team won the Section I Championship on Sunday October 13. The girls played over the course of three days against Some...

Read More

Schools

SETTING

The Goods

SETTING

Raiders Down Tigers In Field Hockey Rematch Thriller

Raiders Down Tigers In Field Hockey Rematch Thriller

On a cloudy morning on Saturday October 12, the Scarsdale Raiders Field Hockey looked to defend their home turf against their eternal antagonists, the...

Read More

Real Estate

SETTING

Retail News: The Shade Store and Stretchlab Opening in Scarsdale

Retail News: The Shade Store and Stretchlab Opening in Scarsdale

Finally there’s some good news for retail. The Shade Store, a national chain with locations in Port Chester, Bronxville and New York City is planning ...

Read More

Arts and Entertainment

SETTING

Vintage and Rare Cars Wow Visitors to the 17th Annual Scarsdale Concours

Vintage and Rare Cars Wow Visitors to the 17th Annual Scarsdale Concours

Jay and Barney Read in their 1994MG RV8 Organizers estimate that as many as 1,000 people visited the 17th annual Scarsdale Concours in Scarsdale Villag...

Read More

People

SETTING

Letter to the Editor: Sustain our Outstanding Schools by Running for the School Board Nominating Committee

Letter to the Editor: Sustain our Outstanding Schools by Running for the School Board Nominating Committee

This letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Terri Simon:
Now that the school year is in full swing, it is time once again for the annual rejuvenation of ...

Read More

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

Programs for Scarsdale Kids